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About me

Between 1975-1980 I worked at the Psychology Department at Lund University with teaching and as research assistant at the Neuropsychology laboratory at Lund University Hospital, primarily with rCBF (regional cerebral blood flow) measurements. Since then I have worked around 35 years as lecturer at the Linnaeus University (former Växjö University), primarily in Psychology, but also in interdisciplinary courses (Sports Psychology, Political Psychology, and Cross-cultural Psychology) and in several international courses, primarily with Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico. Presently I teach mainly neuropsychology in the Psychologist´s program and also a master course in Cross-Cultural Organizational Psychology.

In 2010 I was formally registered as doctoral student (50%) at the Karolinska Institutet, with Miia Kivipelto as main supervisor, and defended my thesis, The role of socio-emotional factors for cognitive health in later life, on Oct 28, 2016.

At the Karolinska Institutet I continue to work 50% as a postdoc with Miia Kivipelto and as a member of the Nordic Brain Network.

Education

1975    Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

2016    PhD in Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Research description

I am generally interested in the role of life style factors, especially emotional and social factors, in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and also in the biological mechanisms behind the associations we have found.

The main focus of my thesis was the role of socio-emotional factors in midlife for cognitive health in later life and how this association is modified by genetic risk factors. The results of the first study showed that living alone after losing a partner relatively early in life was associated with a seven-fold risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and the risk was even higher for persons who also carried the ApoE 4 allele. Follow-up results indicate that feelings of hopelessness and loneliness also constitute risk factors independent of marital status. I am also also involved in research on the biological mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease with a focus on the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). At Karolinska I am a member of the Nordic Brain Network (NBN, led by Miia Kivipelto, and presently work on a project that is a part of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study (FINGER). In that study we want to investigate if inter-individual differences in cognitive gains from the intervention can be related to brain neurotrophic factor (BDNF) availability and BDNF level increases during the intervention period.

At the Linnaeus University I initiated and coordinate a research project on healthy ageing in 2013 together with Abdul Mohammed at the Linnaeus University and Kirk Daffner at Harvard Medical School, a project that is still on-going. The project is entitled Successful Ageing after 65: Effects of environmental stimulation on cognitive health and neural plasticity. This is an intervention study to compare the effects from different activities on cognition and BDNF levels in appr 160 healthy elderly persons living in south Sweden or in the Boston area in the US.

Teaching portfolio

I have worked around 35 years as lecturer at the Linnaeus University (former Växjö University), primarily in Psychology, but also in interdisciplinary courses (Sports Psychology, Political Psychology, and Cross-cultural Psychology). Presently I teach mainly neuropsychology in the Psychologist´s program and also a master course in Cross-Cultural Organizational Psychology.

International teaching projects include a joint summer course with Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico on Culture in International Relations, a distance education course in International Cooperation at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), and a joint distance course in Cross-Cultural Psychology with Makerere University (Uganda) and University of Minnesota.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

I received the pedagogical award in 2003 from Växjö University (now the Linnaeus University) for my work with internationalization in higher education.

I received the silver plaque for excellence in teaching in 2001 and 2004 from Universidad Iberoameicana, Mexico City.

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